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Food and Agricultural Workers Prioritized for COVID-19 Vaccine Under Phase 1b

The devastating effects of the pandemic on food and agricultural workers were on full display during the early stage of COVID-19 in the U.S. last year. Several processing plants in the nation experienced complications related to the virus, impacting thousands of employees and upending the food supply chain.

Union representatives and the nation’s largest meat processors are pressing for food and agricultural workers to receive high priority for vaccinations. Phase 1a, the first priority group including...

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Jan 22 8:38 AM, Urner Barry



Meat and Poultry Worker COVID-19 Case Rates Five Times Lower in December than May

New analysis of independent data for 2020 show that reported new COVID-19 infection rates amongst meat and poultry workers were five times lower in December than in May, while rates in the general population rocketed up by nine times in the same period.

According to data from the Food and Environment Reporting Network (FERN), the meat and poultry sector was reported to have an average of 19.91 new reported cases per 100,000 workers per...

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Jan 14 8:22 AM, General News


Tyson Foods Partners with Matrix to Ensure Employees have Access to the COVID-19 Vaccine

Tyson Foods is partnering with Matrix Medical Network, a leading clinical services company, to ensure the company’s U.S. team members are educated about and have access to the COVID-19 vaccines.

Matrix will collaborate with Tyson Foods’ health services team to deploy mobile health clinics and expert clinical staff to support vaccine communications, administration and counseling at Tyson Foods facilities beginning in early 2021 and continuing throughout the year. Tyson Foods will provide team members with...

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Jan 13 9:01 AM, General News


HHS Announces $22 Billion in Funding to Support Expanded Testing, Vaccination Distribution

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced two upcoming actions by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide more than $22 billion in funding to states, localities, and territories in support of the nation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as directed by the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act.

Funding will provide critical support for testing and vaccination-related activities to jurisdictions before January 19, 2021...

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Jan 7 10:34 AM, General News


Grocers Begin Offering the COVID-19 Vaccine

As shipments of the COVID-19 vaccine are being sent out around the United States, grocery chains are preparing to offer the vaccine through their pharmacies. Clearance for immunizations came in December, after the FDA authorized the use of the first COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech SE. The second vaccine to be authorized was developed by Moderna, which the FDA stated can be given to people 18 years of age and older and cited the shot's high effectiveness in preventing COVID-19 in a large clinical study.

Kroger announced it will provide the COVID-19 vaccine nationwide across its 2,200 pharmacies and 220 clinics, partnering with the federal government and state health departments to administer the vaccine in accordance with...

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Jan 5 9:30 AM, Urner Barry


Anti-Meat Activist Poses as Smithfield Foods CEO on National Television 

Last week, animal activist Matt Johnson of Direct Action Everywhere, posed as the CEO of Smithfield Foods during a national television interview with Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo. On December 23, 2020, Bartiromo thought she was speaking with Smithfield Foods CEO Dennis Organ. However, she and her audience were being misled. 

During the interview, Johnson blamed animal agriculture for new infectious diseases and made false claims that the Centers for Disease Control has data proving that the livestock industry would...

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Dec 29 10:13 AM, Urner Barry


COVID-19 Case Rates for Meat and Poultry Workers More than 8 Times Lower than General Population

New analysis of independent data for the full month of November show that reported new COVID-19 infection rates amongst meat and poultry workers were more than 8 times lower than rates in the general population.

According to data from the Food and Environment Reporting Network (data), the meat and poultry sector was reported to have an average of 5.57 new cases per 100,000 workers per day in November. Infection rates amongst meat and poultry workers have declined steeply in the last six months, while...

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Dec 24 8:21 AM, General News


CDC Agrees: Frontline Meat and Poultry Workers High Priority for COVID-19 Vaccination

Frontline meat and poultry workers should be amongst the first to be vaccinated after health care workers and those in long-term care facilities, according to federal guidance approved by the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Priority (ACIP).

Meat Institute President and CEO Julie Anna Potts applauded ACIP’s guidance and urged state governments to follow CDC’s decision:

"Priority access to vaccines is a critical step for the long-term safety of the selfless frontline meat and poultry workers who have...

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Dec 22 8:19 AM, General News


Meat and Poultry Industry Calls for Prioritization of Workers to Receive COVID-19 Vaccine

The meat industry is calling on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and state governments to prioritize essential meat and poultry workers, their families, and co-habitants, for the COVID-19 vaccine as part of Phase 1b of distribution.

Perdue Farms has offered resources to assist the CDC and states in this effort, recognizing that a successful vaccine program will require a partnership between government and private industry. Perdue Farms mentioned that many meat and poultry industry workers, including its associates, live in one state but...

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Dec 15 8:16 AM, Urner Barry


Confirmation of COVID-19 in a Snow Leopard at a Kentucky Zoo

The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) announced the first confirmed case of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) infection in a snow leopard at the Louisville Zoo in Kentucky. This is the first snow leopard in the United States to test positive for SARS-CoV-2. Confirmatory testing is ongoing for two other snow leopards at the zoo.

Samples from three snow leopards were taken after they showed signs of respiratory illness. All three of the snow leopards are expected to fully recover. It is suspected that they acquired the infection from...

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Dec 14 10:01 AM, General News


Trader Joe's Shares Information on COVID-19 Safety Practices and Positive Cases

As an essential business since the pandemic was declared, Trader Joe's has prioritized creating a safe working and shopping environment every day. To do this important work Trader Joe's has developed, and continues to develop, effective procedures that meet or exceed CDC guidelines to safeguard the health and safety of Crew Members and customers.

"The health and safety practices and procedures that have been put in place, and that continually evolve, have been effective because of the great work done by our Crew Members in every store, every day. We appreciate our Crew Members' diligence and our customers' patience as we...

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Nov 11 8:14 AM, General News


Lidl to Install Hospital Grade Air Filters in All U.S. Stores to Prevent Spread of COVID-19

Following recently issued Centers for Disease Control guidelines stating that the COVID-19 virus can be spread through the air, Lidl US announced it will install new air filtration systems rated MERV 13 or higher in all of its U.S. stores by the end of this year. Air filters rated MERV 13 or higher, which are typically found in hospitals, help filter out COVID-19, according to public health and industry leaders.

"Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have worked diligently to protect the health of everyone in our stores by meeting or exceeding CDC guidelines and this measure to create cleaner, healthier air is no different," said Johannes Fieber, CEO of Lidl US. "Customers and team members in Lidl stores can breathe easier knowing we have...

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Oct 21 8:16 AM, General News


NRF Foundation Introduces COVID-19 Trainings to Aid Retail Employees

The NRF Foundation today launched two new credentials in its RISE Up program in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The credentials focus on Retail Operations and Customer Conflict Prevention to further ensure retail workers — and the millions of customers they serve — can work and shop more safely and help keep the economy open.

“Retailers have been on the front lines of this pandemic as economic first responders and are going above and beyond to maintaining a safe work environment for themselves, their colleagues and their customers,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “These new credentials will give employees the training they need to continue operating and serving customers safely. An informed workforce will build customer confidence and show...

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Oct 16 8:23 AM, General News


NAMI Responds to Washington Post Article on OSHA Citations 

The Washington Post article discussed below was not featured on Urner Barry's sites. 

The North American Meat Institute (Meat Institute) today said the Washington Post missed the real story regarding the Occupational and Safety Health Administration’s (OSHA) citations of two meat packing companies related to COVID-19:

Kim Kindy of the Washington Post has written a story critical of OSHA’s citations of two meat packing plants. We agree OSHA deserves criticism, but for different reasons. OSHA’s citations against Smithfield Foods and JBS Foods are both confusing and revisionist.

Kindy neglects to look at the timeline. Let us review...

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Sep 15 8:23 AM, General News


Maple Leaf Foods Provides Update on COVID-19 at Brandon Plant

Maple Leaf Foods Inc. is continuing its rigorous safety efforts at its Brandon, Manitoba, plant to prevent workplace transmission amidst the recent COVID-19 cluster occurring in the community. The plant continues to operate safely, and Public Health experts have said on numerous occasions that there is no evidence of workplace transmission occurring at the plant.

The Company is extending its efforts to reduce spread of COVID-19 within the community by reinforcing the importance of precautions such as social distancing and by making 500,000 free masks available to community members.

Operationally, Maple Leaf Foods has temporarily suspended pork exports to China on a voluntary basis due to recent protocols adopted by...

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Aug 19 8:30 AM, General News


Chairman Roberts Leads Letter to Urge Flexibility for School Meals

U.S. Senator Pat Roberts, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, sent a letter to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to urge the Department to continue providing flexibilities to schools and sponsoring organizations for school meals and child nutrition.

“As the school year begins, the challenges brought on by the COVID emergency persist. We encourage continued use of the child nutrition program waiver authority ably used thus far to assist school food authorities and non-school sponsoring organizations who work collaboratively to provide...

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Aug 19 8:19 AM, General News


Tyson Foods Launches New, Nationwide COVID Monitoring Strategy; Expands Health Staff

As part of its commitment to team member safety and continually evolving efforts to protect workers from COVID-19, Tyson Foods, Inc. is launching a new, industry-leading monitoring program and expanding its occupational health staff, including a new chief medical officer position.

The comprehensive COVID monitoring strategy was designed with the assistance of outside medical experts and includes ongoing, data driven COVID testing of workers without symptoms, as well as those who exhibit certain symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has the virus.

“While the protective measures we’ve implemented in our facilities are working well, we remain vigilant about...

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Jul 31 8:20 AM, General News


Perdue Farms Provides Statement on Virginia's Workplace Requirements

The state of Virginia has enacted new mandatory requirements for workplaces to keep employees safe during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Perdue Farms employs more than 3,300 associates throughout its Virginia facilities including poultry operations in Accomac and Bridgewater, distribution center in Prince George, and a deepwater port and grain facility in Chesapeake, as well as nearly 70 poultry farm families and more than 800 grain farmers, contributing nearly $930 million in economic impact to the state annually.

Perdue’s poultry facilities fall into Virginia’s “Medium Risk” category. Other types of businesses in this category include...

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Jul 29 8:22 AM, General News


Technomic: Consumer Perspective on Social Distancing Measures within Restaurants

Following CDC guidelines for safe social distancing, half of consumers would be comfortable dining in at restaurants with a 6-foot distance between tables. However, more than a quarter would be more comfortable with 9-15 feet.

More consumers willing to social distance than wear protective gear

More than half of consumers would follow social distancing measures, but less than half would be willing to wear a mask or gloves when in a restaurant. Consumers ages 35-44 are more likely to...

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May 21 8:18 AM, General News


CDC Provides Guidelines for Reopening Restaurants and Bars During COVID-19 Pandemic

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released guidelines to help foodservice businesses like restaurants and bars reopen amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The CDC urged businesses to “check with state and local health officials and other partners to determine the most appropriate actions while adjusting to meet the unique needs and circumstances of the local community.”

As restaurants consider reopening, the CDC noted two questions business owners should ask, the first being, “Will reopening be consistent with applicable state and local orders..."

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May 18 10:51 AM, Urner Barry


Retailers Unveil Blueprint for Shopping Safe

The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) and the National Retail Federation (NRF) released a Blueprint for Shopping Safe outlining a phased-in approach to reopening retail. The plan urges governors to issue uniform, statewide protocols for retailers to adopt as they reopen stores and work to keep employees and customers safe.

“As conversations turn to the reopening of the economy, retailers are uniquely situated to provide input, because we’ve been on both sides of the stay at home orders.” said Brian Dodge, RILA president. “Groceries, pharmacies and other retailers that have remained open have implemented practices and protocols that are keeping employees and communities safe.

The Blueprint builds off those successful operating practices. Our goal is for the safe reopen of retail, and we want everyone, policymakers, employees and...

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Apr 28 8:18 AM, General News


4 of the Biggest Takeaways From the CDC's Report on Smithfield Foods' Sioux Falls Plant

Earlier this month Smithfield Foods closed their pork processing plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, after hundreds of employees tested positive for the coronavirus. With a number of fishing seasons set to begin in the next few weeks, including salmon in Alaska and snow crab in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, we’re looking at what seafood processing facilities can learn from the CDC’s latest recommendation for Smithfield Foods.

The Smithfield Foods plant in South Dakota employs about 3,700 people. Smithfield initially kept..

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Apr 24 12:05 PM, SeafoodNews


Chicken Processors Redoubling Efforts to Keep Essential Workers Safe and Healthy

“These are certainly trying and unprecedented times, and chicken processors are doing everything they can to 1) keep their employees safe and 2) work to keep chicken on the shelves – in that order,” said National Chicken Council President Mike Brown. “Our members are following all of the CDC and local health department guidelines, and many have consulted with infectious disease physicians to develop site plans.”

Brown noted that companies have enacted many additional measures to keep workers safe, including...

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Apr 14 8:14 AM, General News




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